Chick Update

20170306_chickenupdate01Animal world was at the forefront this past week. My new chicks – 9 Gold Comets and 11 Silver Laced Wyandottes – are growing crazy fast. My plan was for them to live in the brooder suite (two brooder boxes with a tunnel connecting them) for at least a month, but it became clear last week that the three week old chicklets needed more space. The tunnel was challenging, the roosting bars were filled, and it was rare to see all 20 in the same box for sleeping.

20170306_chickenupdate02We had purchased a large dog kennel for goat transportation (hard to believe that was just a month ago – feels like a lifetime!), and I decided to try it for the chicks second home. It took a bit of planning to make the change work – they need the heat lamp for a few more weeks, it’s a taller structure, and the open sides meant pine shavings, food, and water could easily turn the sunroom into a biohazard zone.

I set the cage up on a tarp, then wrapped the tarp up all four sides of the cage. The tarp has velcro tabs along the perimeter, making it easy to secure the material to the cage. I added a few scrap boards for roosting bars nearest the heat lamp, then placed food and water dishes near the cage’s door. Transferring the chicks is nerve-wracking, but they are happy to be in the new space and growing like mad. The babies are filled with feathers, they are practicing dust bathing, and love staring in a hand mirror.

In other chicken news, one of my older girls has been having a bit of trouble. I believe she’s gone broody…and she’s driving her coop mates crazy with her antics. I love their little house but it’s layout means this broody bird is disrupting egg production for the other three – she’s blocking access to the boxes!

20170306_chickenupdate03I reviewed the info on broody birds in Fresh Eggs Daily and moved Miss Sophia to a small crate in the laundry room. I should have read the info more closely though – out of habit I put in pine shavings and its best to leave the quarantine free of such comforts to help cool the girl down. I tried returning her to the flock yesterday afternoon and things seemed to be going alright…until I added food. The other girls would not let Miss Sophia eat and pecked at her. So back to seclusion she went, this time with no pine shavings.

This is when things get pretty tough. It’s hard to see any animal struggling and since I’m still in my first year of chicken keeping there are so many things I have yet to learn. My willpower is getting quite a workout! If the weather holds I may get the coop refurb project finished this week, including the covered run, and I’m hopeful that a new living space with greater room to move around will help.

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